Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Final Week of College

The end is in sight.

Painting by Edmond W. Greacen - Ethol with Roses
My course in therapeutic recreation is going to be over after 5 more work days.  In many ways it feels like we just got started and now it is over already. This has been such an exhausting  and difficult experience and in many ways it has been  positive and life affirming.

In a somewhat overwhelmed moment I told my husband I wasn't sure this has been worth it and that I might never actually get a job.

He said he knows it was worth it. My confidence and attitude is so much better.  My interest in learning is  back. My stamina and energy level really has increased since I have been pushing myself to the limit day after day. Physically I still have a lot of issues and I have more than a few emotional scars from the trauma of the past 6 years but I feel very different about myself right now. I feel a sense of value and direction in my life once again.

I don't know what will happen next.
Maybe I will get a job soon.
Maybe I need to get even more training somewhere.
Maybe I should go on a trip.

I think I might just  relax and take some time to smell the roses!



Saturday, April 26, 2014

My Work Placement

I might use pansies for my indoor garden program next week.
I have been very, very busy at my first unpaid work placement for the past 3 weeks. I am at a
personal care home that is part of a large chain. The home is pretty large with just over 200 residents and it has 10 people employed as recreation staff.  I love the people I have been working with. Just lovely people and I do feel at home. It is challenging though. The real world experience is being valuable.


 Next week will involve a lot of assignments and activities that I will be marked on. I will spend Monday at the college with my class and teachers and I will have to give a short presentation about the place where I am working. We are all at different locations all around the city and it fascinating to see how incredibly different all the facilities are.  From Tuesday to Friday I will be observed and marked while running three programs. I choose the programs, plan them out  and I will do a write up about each of them. I am planning a music program, a game program and I have been researching Horticultural Therapy for the last one. I will get to help out at the monthly "club night". I also need to make up a pretend May calendar for the facility with events and activities for the floor I am working on.

I am holding out okay physically, but believe me this is NOT easy.  It is a blessing to be of service to the people in the home but there is only so much one can do to help. There is sadness and loss to be seen there but there are inspiring moments of joy and dignity too.

I will do a work placement at an assisted living facility for May and I think that will also be an interesting experience.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Keep Calm and Carry On?

I am participating in WEGO's challenge to post everyday in APRIL. WEGO is a group that empowers online communities in Health Activism to help others.
https://www.wegohealth.com/
Keep Calm and Carry On. Write & create your own “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster. Try to make it about your condition! You can then go to (http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/) and actually make an image to post to your blog. #HAWMC

 
 
I was very surprised to find out that people think of Therapeutic Recreation Facilitators as people who just lead Bingo Games and do Arts and Crafts with Old People. It is so much more...
 
One of the first appointments with my Occupational Therapist involved a discussion about what my goals for recovery were.  What were the things I needed to do and what were the things I wanted to do? What had I lost with the injury that would impact on my life?
We talked about what I needed to do to be safe. What did I need to be able to do that were activities of daily living such as managing to dress and feed myself.  Issues related to moving physically, reading and knowing what to do with numbers were at the top of my list.
 
How do you want to spend your leisure time? What helps you participate in activities with your friends and family? What will it take for you to get to go back to volunteer or paid work or allow you to care for your family?
 
I wanted to read, I wanted to cook, I wanted to shop by myself. I had a goal of being organized and remembering what I was doing. I wanted to crochet even though my left hand was NOT working well. I wanted to enjoy photography. I wanted to go camping, hiking and boating.
 
What I REALLY wanted at that point was my old life back.
 
What have I done in my journey to get my life back?
 
I worked on reading and writing with my OT
I worked on how to cook again with my OT
I helped decorate and paint my cottage walls
I wanted music so I joined a very tolerant choir and I found a guitar teacher
I went to boating, sailing events for disabled people to help with my balance
I had  a physiotherapist that made me ride a stationary bike.
I was sent to aquatic therapy where I got to exercise and play in a pool.
I went for (remarkably slow) walks with friends to learn to walk again and gain endurance.
I joined the Stroke Recovery Association and found  peers for support and to do activities with.
I attend adapted Tai Chi classes with a physiotherapist to help with balance, spasticity and strength.
I attended an outpatient group where we  played games to encourage cognitive recovery
I attended a whole lot of sessions of Mindful Meditation.to help balance my emotions
I blog... for recreation and therapy too.. and the hope of making a difference to other people.
 
I have socialized and made new friends and got a lot of support on this journey.
 
That, my friends, is what I think Therapeutic Recreation is all about. 
 
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